A Moslem republic in southern Asia; formerly part of India; Also called: West Pakistan.
Country in S Asia, stretching from the Himalayas to the Arabian Sea, bounded W by Iran, nw by Afghanistan, ne by China, and E by India.
The 1973 constitution, suspended 1977, was restored in part and amended 1985 to make the president the dominant political figure. Primary power resides with the central government, headed by an executive president who is elected for five-year terms by a joint sitting of the federal legislature.
Day-to-day administration is performed by a prime minister (drawn from the national assembly) and cabinet appointed by the president. After 1988, power shifted from the president to the prime minister in what became a dual administration.
Pakistan is a federal republic comprising four provinces: Sind, Punjab, North-West Frontier Province, and Baluchistan, administered by appointed governors and local governments drawn from elected provincial assemblies; Tribal Areas, which are administered by the central government; and the Federal Capital Territory of Islamabad. The federal legislature, Majlis i-Shura, comprises two chambers: a lower house (national assembly) composed of 207 members directly elected for five-year terms by universal suffrage, and 20 women and 10 minority group appointees; and an upper chamber (senate) composed of 87 members elected, a third at a time, for six-year terms by provincial assemblies and Tribal Areas following a quota system. The national assembly has sole jurisdiction over financial affairs.
For history before 1947, see Indus Valley civilization and India. The name “Pakistan” for a Muslim division of British India was put forward 1930 by Choudhary Rahmat Ali (1897–1951) from names of the Muslim parts of the subcontinent: Punjab, the Afghan nw Frontier, Kashmir, Sind, and Baluchistan. Pak means “pure” in Urdu and stan means “land”. Fear of domination by the Hindu majority in India led in 1940 to a serious demand for a separate Muslim state, which delayed India’s independence for some years. In 1947 British India was divided into two dominions, India and Pakistan.
After the death of its leader Jinnah 1948, Pakistan remained a dominion with the British monarch as head of state until a republic was declared 1956. Its new constitution was abrogated 1958, and military rule was imposed through a coup by General Mohammed Ayub Khan. The country experienced rapid economic growth during the 1960s, but regional tension mounted between demographically dominant East Pakistan and West Pakistan, where political and military power was concentrated. After serious strikes and riots 1969, General Ayub Khan was replaced by General Agha Mohammed Yahya Khan.
Pakistan's first elections with universal suffrage were held 1970 to elect an assembly to frame a new constitution. Sheik Mujib ur-Rahman's Awami League, which proposed autonomy, gained a majority of seats in East Pakistan, and the Pakistan People's Party (ppp) in West Pakistan. East Pakistan declared its independence from the West 1971, precipitating a civil war. India intervened on East Pakistan's side, and the independent republic of Bangladesh emerged.
General Yahya Khan resigned, passing power in West Pakistan to the People's Party leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who introduced a new federal parliamentary constitution 1973 and a socialist economic program of land reform and nationalization. From the mid-1970s the Sind-based Bhutto administration faced deteriorating economic conditions and growing regional opposition, particularly from Baluchistan and from Pathans campaigning for an independent Pakhtoonistan.
Bhutto won a majority in the 1977 assembly elections but was accused of ballot rigging. Riots ensued, and after four months of unrest, the Punjabi Muslim army Chief of Staff, General Zia ul-Haq, seized power in a bloodless coup 1977. Martial law was imposed; Bhutto was imprisoned for alleged murder and hanged 1979.
General Zia imposed severe restrictions on political activity. He introduced a broad Islamization program aimed at deepening his support base and appeasing Islamic fundamentalists. This was opposed by middle-class professionals and by the Shiite minority. In 1981, nine banned opposition parties, including the ppp, formed the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy alliance to campaign for a return to parliamentary government.
The military government responded by arresting several hundred opposition politicians. A renewed democracy campaign 1983 resulted in considerable antigovernment violence in Sind province. From 1982, however, General Zia slowly began enlarging the civilian element in his government and in 1984 he held a successful referendum on the Islamization process, which was taken to legitimize his continuing as president for a further five-year term.
In 1985, direct elections were held to the national and provincial assemblies, but on a nonparty basis. A new civilian cabinet was formed and an amended constitution adopted. Martial law and the ban on political parties were lifted, military courts were abolished, and military administrators stepped down in favor of civilians. A government was formed by the Pagaro faction of the Pakistan Muslim League (pml) led by Mohammad Khan Junejo, which was subservient to General Zia. Benazir Bhutto, the daughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and leader of the ppp, returned 1986 from self-exile in London to launch a popular campaign for immediate open elections. Riots erupted in Lahore, Karachi, and rural Sind, where troops were sent in, and ppp leaders were arrested.
Islamic law introduced
In 1988, concerned with the deteriorating state of the economy and anxious to accelerate the Islamization process, President Zia dismissed the Junejo government and dissolved the national assembly and provincial legislatures, promising fresh elections within 90 days. Ruling by ordinance, Zia decreed that the Shari'a, the Islamic legal code, would immediately become the country's supreme law. A month later he was killed, along with senior army officers, in a military airplane crash near Bahawalpur. Sabotage was suspected.
Ghulam Ishaq Khan, the Senate's elderly chair, succeeded as president. In subsequent multiparty elections, the ppp, which had moved toward the center in its policy stance, emerged as the largest single party.
Benazir Bhutto’s government
After forging a coalition with the Mohajir National Movement (mqm), Benazir Bhutto was sworn in as prime minister Nov 1988, and Ghulam Ishaq Khan was elected president. The new Bhutto administration pledged itself to a free-market economic program, support of the Afghan mujaheddin, and to leave untouched the military budget. In Oct 1989 the mqm withdrew from the ruling coalition and allied itself with the opposition Islamic Democratic Alliance (ida). The Bhutto government narrowly survived a vote of no confidence a month later.
Benazir Bhutto's government was dismissed from office by president Ghulam Ishaq Khan Aug 1990 on accusations of incompetence, corruption, and abuse of power. The national assemblies were also dissolved. In Oct 1990 the opposition swept to victory and Nawaz Sharif, Bhutto's former chief minister of Punjab province, became prime minister. Sharif had headed the ida, which incorporated the pml (led by former premier Mohammad Khan Junejo). The ida captured 105 of the 207 parliamentary seats contested to the 45 of Bhutto's ppp. It also secured control of three of the four provincial assemblies, Bhutto's Sind stronghold being the exception. Sharif promised to pursue a free-market economic program and was supported by the military, state bureaucracy, and mullahs.
Islamic law enforced
In May 1991 a Shari’a bill, enforcing Islamic law and designed to create an “Islamic welfare state” was enacted. The opposition ppp, though welcoming parts of the social reform program, unsuccessfully voted against the bill. Nawaz Sharif also launched a privatization and deregulation program, but these reforms were soon upset by labor unrest and terrorist incidents and by the uncovering of a financial scandal involving Nawaz Sharif’s family and members of the government.
In Sept 1992 floods devastated the northern region of Jammu and Kashmir, resulting in 2,000 deaths and the destruction of a fifth of the area's cotton crop. The Pakistani government came under attack for its handling of the disaster, which also caused 500 deaths in northern India.
From early 1993 President Khan and Prime Minister Sharif were locked in a power struggle, contesting each other's authority at every level. In July 1993 five months of political stalemate ended when the national assembly was dissolved and both Khan and Sharif resigned.
In the Oct 1993 general election Bhutto was sworn in as prime minister for a second time after the ppp and its allies secured a narrow victory over the pml, led by Sharif. The ppp was also able to form governments in Bhutto's home province of Sindh and, in coalition, in the crucial state of Punjab. In Nov 1993 Farooq Leghari, drawn from Bhutto's ppp, was indirectly elected state president, promising to reduce the powers of the presidency and strengthen the prime-ministerial system.
Regional factional violence had been on the increase since 1992, and in March 1995 two us diplomats were killed in an ambush in Karachi, an area which had seen escalating conflict between political, ethnic, and religious militant groups, resulting in the deaths of more than 800 people by 1994.
In foreign affairs, Pakistan's relations with India have been strained since independence, with border wars over Kashmir 1965 and East Pakistan 1971. The country left the Commonwealth 1972, when the new state of Bangladesh was accepted, but rejoined 1989. As a result of shared hostility to India, Pakistan has been allied with China since the 1950s; during the 1970s it developed close relations with the us, providing support for the us-backed Afghan rebels, while joining the nonaligned movement 1979 and drawing closer to the Islamic states of the Middle East and Africa. During the Persian Gulf crisis and war against Iraq of 1990–91, Pakistan sent 11,000 troops to Saudi Arabia to guard Islamic shrines, but there was considerable anti-Americanism within the country and popular support for Saddam Hussein.
The us suspended military aid Oct 1990 after learning that Pakistan was seeking to develop nuclear weapons. Prime Minister Bhutto admitted Sept 1991 that Pakistan had the facilities for rapid construction of a nuclear weapon, and in Aug 1994 former premier Nawaz Sharif declared that the country had a nuclear bomb.